Beyond Pub Grub at Meehan’s Public House

Who would have thought that one of the top peach cobblers in Atlanta would be at an Irish pub?

A lot about Meehan’s Public House may be surprising for first time diners.  More than just a spot for pub grub in downtown, Meehan’s serves gourmet fare with a local and organic focus.

Though it is tempting to fast forward to the excellent dessert, let me start at the beginning.  I was recently invited to dine at Meehan’s Public House for a taste of the restaurant’s new and signature dishes.

The interior of Meehan’s is like many Irish pubs — dark and intimate with wooden booths that line the narrow space.  The menu too includes traditional Irish fare.  But after a few bites (or maybe even sooner), you’ll realize, thanks in part to its executive chef, Meehan’s is much more than your typical Irish pub.

Executive Chef Jordan Wakefield incorporates his own southern cooking traditions in Meehan’s menu.  Chef Wakefield grew up in Georgia and is no stranger to Atlanta’s food scene, having worked at Food 101 and Spice Market.  Like a number of Atlanta chefs, Wakefield is passionate about the local foods movement.  At Meehan’s he creates Irish and gastropub favorites using ingredients from Georgia farms.

My meal started with a taste of Meehan’s popular dishes.  The Guinness Battered Fish and Chips were instantly a hit, with just the right amount of crispy skin surrounding the flaky fish.  The 101 Meatloaf also was a winner, with its savory mix of bison meat, ground beef and sausage.  Rounding out the first course, the homemade soft pretzel with a cheese sauce was a great snack with a beer, and the Ahi tuna tostadas had a nice spicy kick.

Next came the Organic Kale Salad, served with Applewood bacon, roasted golden beets, Asiago cheese and avocado.  Chef Wakefield kept it simple, serving the kale raw in a tangy vinaigrette.

The main event was the “Shake-n-Bake,” a giant pork chop from Niman Ranch that was breaded and lightly fried.  It came topped with a wild mushroom gravy and sides of Parmesan mac and cheese and locally grown Swiss chard.  It was clear to see why Chef Wakefield chose to feature this dish — it was outstanding.  The pork was cooked perfectly; the moist meat was enhanced by the wonderfully crunchy outside.  I don’t often order pork at restaurants but this dish is worth a special trip.  The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA was an excellent choice to wash it all down.

Then came dessert: the Georgia Peach Cobbler.  Locally grown peaches were served over a sweet biscuit with a scoop of High Road Craft caramelized peach ice cream.  Just the aromas of vanilla and cinnamon made my mouth water.  Sweet and savory, warm with the cooling sensation of the ice cream, this dessert added an exclamation point to the end of the meal.  Though I was full going into the course, I had to resist licking the bowl.

Perhaps odd at an Irish pub, I didn’t have a single Irish beer over the course of the evening.  For Chef Wakefield, the idea of eating local applies to breweries too.  Rather than pair the cobbler with a pint of Guinness, Chef Wakefield served us a Chocolate Milk Stout from Terrapin, the Athens, Georgia brewery.

Guinness fans needn’t fret.  Meehan’s has the Irish stout on tap and, according to a Yelp review, pours the best pint in town.  Meehan’s also hosts monthly beer dinners (details can be found on their website).

The owner of Meehan’s Public House plans to open two new locations of the restaurant: one near Emory and one in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Whether you’re in the mood for a beer and snack after work, or want to take that special someone on a date, you can enjoy both at Meehan’s Public House in downtown Atlanta.

Meehan’s Public House, 180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30303
(404) 214-9821

image of restaurant’s exterior from Meehan’s Facebook page

AG Pick: Heron Hill Chardonnay 2009

Need a break from overly oaked California Chardonnay? Head across the country to upstate New York for Heron Hill Winery’s elegant and satisfying 2009 unoaked Chardonnay.

Heron Hill has been producing cool-climate Chardonnay and Riesling for more than 30 years in the Finger Lakes region. The vineyards’ location near Keuka Lake helps protect the vines against damaging frost in the early spring and before harvest.

Click here to read my 2009 article on Heron Hill’s Rieslings

The 2009 Chardonnay is made with grapes from two vineyards on the west side of Lake Seneca. It is delicate and refreshing, due in part to the exclusive use of stainless steel during fermentation. The lively flavors of the grapes are allowed to shine, instead of being overpowered by oak.

Very pale straw in color, the Chardonnay has soft aromas of citrus and white flowers. Along with the citrus, stone fruit notes emerge on the palate, with flavors of grapefruit, white peach and apricot. The finish is crisp and clean with a lingering hint of lemon zest.

With a slightly lower alcohol content than other wines, this Chardonnay is great during the hot summer months.

Pair the Heron Hill Chardonnay with chicken, seafood, shellfish or salad, or enjoy it outdoors on a warm day.

The 2009 Heron Hill Chardonnay costs $14 a bottle.

If you can’t find Heron Hill wines in your preferred wine shop, the winery ships to most states via their website.

12% alcohol by volume

More White Wines | Red Wines | Under $20

Wine Tastings at the St. Regis Atlanta

You don’t have to be a hotel guest at the St. Regis in order to enjoy one of Atlanta’s most sophisticated wine tasting.

All wine fans are welcome Wednesday evenings at “Tasting Notes,” the Buckhead hotel’s weekly tasting of wine paired with music. Hosted at the Wine Room by Wine Butler and Sommelier Harry Constantinescu, the tasting allows people to explore how wine and music can evoke a frame of mind and influence character.

Tasting Notes costs $20 per person, which includes three wines. The theme and music change weekly. Upcoming themes include refined Rieslings, Portugal’s wines and the lost grapes of Bordeaux.

Click here to see the Tasting Notes calendar

While at the St. Regis you can also watch the hotel’s daily Champagne sabering ritual, a signature tradition at 6pm to celebrate the arrival of the evening.

If you’re thirsty for more than just a taste, the Wine Room has more than 500 wines available by the bottle and food to perfectly pair with each glass.

Tasting Notes at The St. Regis Atlanta Wine Room
Wednesdays, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

88 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta (404) 563-7900
$20 per person, complimentary valet parking

image from the St. Regis Atlanta’s website

Wild Heaven Craft Beers Now in Bottles

Fans of Wild Heaven Craft Beers can now enjoy an Invocation or Ode to Mercy at their home in addition to at their local bar.  Starting this week, the two beers are available to purchase in bottles.

Wild Heaven was created by Nick Purdy, founding publisher of Paste magazine, and brewmaster Eric Johnson of Athens’ Trappeze Pub.  Since launching in September 2010, the Decatur-based brewery has found a huge following in Georgia with their expertly crafted, high quality beers.

If you haven’t yet tasted these excellent brews, now is the perfect time to pick up a four pack.

Invocation is a Belgian-style golden ale.  It is cloudy golden yellow in color, with spicy flavors of dried and tropical fruits and a refreshing, slightly bitter finish.

Ode to Mercy is an Imperial brown ale.  My favorite of the two, it is bold and balanced with rich flavors of coffee and oak and a hint of citrus from the hops.  The finish is smooth and creamy.

Invocation and Ode to Mercy are 8.5% and 8.2% alcohol by volume, respectively.

The four packs of 12 oz bottles are now available at a number of liquor and package stores throughout the Atlanta area, as well as all in-town Whole Foods locations.

Nick and Eric are working on two new beers for Wild Heaven so stay tuned for details on the beers’ style and when they will launch.  Wild Heaven’s brewery, to be located on the border between Decatur and Avondale Estates, is targeted to open in the first half of 2012.

Click here for more information on Wild Heaven Craft Beers.